Ethene (ethylene) (C₂H₄)

Ethene (ethylene) (C₂H₄)

The first member in the homologous series of 1-alkenes.



ethene, ethylene, alkene, olefin, unsaturated hydrocarbon, homologous series, addition, polymerisation, plant hormone, ripening, organic chemistry, chemistry

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Ethene, ethylene C₂H₄


Molar mass: 28.052 g/mol

Melting point: -169 °C (-272.2 °F)

Boiling point: -103.7 °C (-154.66 °F)

Relative steam density (air=1): 0.98

Heat of combustion: -1,411.2 kJ/mol


Ethylene (or ethene) is a colorless, non-poisonous, lighter-than-air gas with a sweet odor. It does not dissolve in water but dissolves well in organic solvents. It burns with a bright flame and is highly reactive. Its typical reactions are addition (for example with bromide, hydrogen, and strong acids) and polymerization.

It is highly flammable and explosive.

Occurrence and production

In laboratories ethylene is produced through the dehydration of ethanol, while in industry this occurs in the pyrolysis of ethane or mineral oil fractions.

It rarely occurs in nature. It is an important plant hormone.


Ethylene sprayed onto fruits aids ripening during transportation. In the largest quantities it is used in polyethylene production. It is also used, in smaller quantities, in the manufacture of vinyl-chloride, ethanol, ethylene-oxide and propanoic acid.

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Addition is a reaction in which the molecules of two or more substances unite without the formation of a by-product.

Ethane (C₂H₆)

The second member in the homologous series of straight-chain alkanes.

Ethyne (acetylene) (C₂H₂)

The first member of the homologous series of alkyne hydrocarbons.

Polymerization of ethene

Polymerized ethylene is known as polyethylene, a type of plastic.

1,1,2,2-tetrafluorethylene (C₂F₄)

Colorless, odorless gas, the monomer of teflon.


Alkanes are saturated hydrocarbons which can be organized into a homologous series.

Benzene (C₆H₆)

Benzene is the simplest aromatic hydrocarbon.

Conformations of ethane

The staggered conformation of ethane is more stable than the eclipsed conformation.

Prop-1-ene (C₃H₆)

The monomer of polypropylene.

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